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|Five Changes For Town Against Rotherham|
I'm not mad about the Skuse as a centre back who can convert into midfield easily if/when we need it idea. I'd rather have Woolfenden in, slot Skuse in the middle alonside Huws & push Nolan into the advanced role. Surely we should be confident enough in our squad at this level to start off as we mean to go on.
That said, it's a strong side & bench and I'm glad to see Huws & Keane start. Despite their lack of match fitness, I thought both showed plenty of genuine class at Milton Keynes; both way too good for this level if they get an uninjured run of matches.
|Evans Hoping for Handshake and Glass of Wine|
Shake his hand if offered; politely decline the offer of a post-game chitchat & glass of wine, citing some surmountable logistical reason. Move on with zero fuss, there's nothing in it for either Lambert or the club; ultimately Evans is an irrelevance to both.
|Three Changes as Blues Face Tranmere|
Up to Judge to perform today, in his best & preferred role.
No sign of Keane in the matchday squad, hope he's not injured.
|Cotter Joins Chelmsford on Loan|
Got off to a flyer & looked a really confident attacking full back or wing back option. I guess we didn't get the chance to properly evaluate his defending and teamwork qualities before the plaudits rained in. Clearly there have been issues with his application and attitude, as more than 1 manager has hinted at, so I can't see a future for the lad at Ipswich, certainly not while Paul Lambert is manager anyway.
|Lambert: Judge Was Overthinking the Game|
Judge is a very good footballer & has qualities that could/should have seen him play in the Premier League by now, but I don't think he is as versatile as Lambert is making out.
He is not at his best played on the wing & he certainly couldn't manage wingback, so an advanced role in the centre is really where he needs to be. He wasn't particularly effective behind Jackson as a lone striker, although he may pair better off Norwood, were he up front, given his different skillset.
The main problem Judge has now though, is even in his best role (I'd argue), i.e. advanced centre midfield playing off 2 forwards, he would not be first choice to start, because Nolan has returned to the side with a bang. They are different types of players, but both are well suited to that position in their own way, as creators/providers and goal threats. Judge's curling strike against Gillingham was a beauty, at the end of a great move & would have been a real goal of the month contender had it been a fraction more to the left.
Lambert seems to be moving more to 3-5-2 formation at the moment, which would certainly suit Judge, but also suits Nolan and Dozzell in the advanced midfield role. Nolan is justifiably the man in possession at the moment though. I see Emyr Huws playing deeper, alongside or instead of Downes or Skuse.
Woolfenden Chambers, Wilson
|Lambert: Evans's Comments Complete Rubbish and Lies|
Typical bully type; does all the scummy behaviour against others & then looks to blame those he is abusing to cover up for his own inadequacy. A toxic presence around any & all he comes in contact with I'd imagine.
3 away points in the bag, we move onwards & ipwards (typo that I'm leaving in because it nicely represents our current momentum).
|Lambert: Outstanding First Half as Well as We've Played|
Away win & clean sheet is always good, but we weren't great here & could easily have dropped points. Yes of course Lambert can say that we are the big dog in this division with a target on our back, but equally you could argue that some of the 'smaller' teams tend to show us too much respect & play cautiously against us out of fear, particularly early on; I think that happened with MK Dons, who stood off us for much of the first half, but clearly were torn into by their manager at half time before taking the game to us in the second half.
Big plusses are the return to the starting XI of Huws, Nolan & Garbutt, all off whom showed good touches at times, and also an hour of Will Keane, without injury. Those are 4 serious footballers to have in a Division 1 squad.
Biggest loser of the night was Alan Judge, who must have been watching where Jon Nolan was dispatched with great jealousy & annoyance.
|Lambert and Jackson Nominated for Awards|
Downes would have been our most deserving nominee, but I'm pleased for Jackson who has been a reborn player so far this season.
I was delighted with the signing of Norwood & think he is exactly the type of forward we needed, but if I'm honest he has not been as good & clinical a finisher as I was hoping for, or indeed expected ... and this despite the fact that he is the division's leading scorer,
I really liked the instinctive goals he scored last season at Tranmere & am sure he can up his chances to goals ratio as the season progresses, but I am less sure that he could be a 20 goals+ striker at Championship level than I was before the season started.
To be fair, he has worked well with Jackson & this has helped Kayden show us what he can do and maybe their partnership is the big plus of the season so far; but perhaps 5 goals is not as impressive a return, from the opportunities that have fallen to an "out & out goalscorer", as it looks at first glance, ... maybe, maybe harsh?
|Town Down to Third|
I agree with Steve re: Doncaster; could be a difficult game alright. They are only 7th because they've played 2 games fewer than most of the other sides around the top of the league and the games they have played have been against some of the better sides. A win would of course be great, but I won't be counting my chickens in advance of this one.
|U18s at Bolton|
We should be well prepared for this game, given that our seniors played them a couple of weeks ago.
|Keane Reignites Walters Spat|
This Roy Keane character; he's not a very nice man.
Sacked by Ireland because he wasn't doing very well. League clubs not exactly queuing up to give him a job.
|Lambert: I Don't See the Point of the Tournament|
I agree with the comments above.
The main plus from these games though is that it gives Emyr Huws (arguably our best midfielder if/when he gets back to his best) and Jon Nolan another avenue to move closer to full match fitness . After that it rewards Dobra and El Mizouni, and to a lesser extent Clements, for their early game performances for the first XI, when the squad was still a bit threadbare. They absolutely deserve the chance to be in & around the first team & get minutes on pitch. I would also like to see Ndaba get a game, as I think we are still a little vulnerable at centre half; notwithstanding the encouraging performances of Wilson and the imminent return of Nsiala.
|Emmanuel Joins Bolton|
Some decent signings there for Bolton all in all. They will be a different proposition when they get them all up & running AND they will take points off our rivals. That 0-5 result could be a very useful result for us.
Good luck to Josh, wish him well.
|Nolan Glad to Be Over Nightmare Injury|
It is hard to believe that we have the centre midfield options of Nolan, Bishop, Huws, Dozzell & even Nydam to come into the reckoning for a possible starting XI place, when back up to full fitness at different stages of the season. As a Championship side that would be an embarrassment of riches, but for Division 1 it's positively mouth-watering.
(I'm giving Andre the benefit of the doubt with match fitness here).
|Lambert: It’s Going to Take a Good Team to Beat Us|
Earlier comments re: our own Gerard Nash potentially getting the manager's job at a senior club in Ireland:
Is he unsurprised by the interest given Nash’s success with the U23s, who topped their division last season?
“I don’t know. There’s a million and one coaches/managers that want jobs and you need a bit of luck to get an opportunity because sometimes the opportunity doesn’t come in that often. “He’s a young guy finding his feet in how to run things and how to go about things. Listen, if somebody wants you and the club are willing to come and try and get you, then I’ll never stand in anybody’s way, that’s for sure. “But it’s good for him, if it doesn’t happen it’s good for him that somebody wants you, that’s the beauty of it.”
Comments above, about a rival manager invited to train with him a few years back:
Lambert knows Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts having invited him along to training when he was in charge at Wolves.
“Sam came in and I know he did well,” Lambert recalled. “He’s a nice lad making his way in the game and I think it’s good, a young guy, a young coach finding his feet – but we have to win. “Sam asked if he could come in and it’s not a problem. I tend to help younger guys who ask if they can come in.”
It struck me that he sounds far more positive about Ricketts here today. Even if he feels that Nash is far from the finished article, I would have expected Lambert to have been a bit more complimentary about him at a press conference. At the very least that he wouldn't start his answer with "I don't know ..." when asked for his reaction to Nash being approached.
|Sears Back Running as Recovery Continues|
@mojo: Fair enough, I thought Lankester was due back after Christmas, but if not that's a pity alright. Great prospect who will be more than capable of playing Championship football next season!!
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